Three UB Students Receive Fulbright Student Scholarships for 2009-10

By Avery Schneider

Release Date: November 11, 2009 This content is archived.


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UB student Katherine Cumberland is teaching in Taiwan on a Fulbright scholarship. She previously worked three years in Lima, Peru working with Food for the Hungry International.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Three University at Buffalo students were awarded Fulbright student scholarships for the 2009-10 academic year and are abroad studying and contributing to the health and education systems of other countries.

Meghana Gadgil, Katherine Cumberland and Catherine Dunning are among the more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will study, teach or research abroad as Fulbright scholars this academic year.

Gadgil, of Berkeley, Calif., is a student in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She is conducting research on hand-washing interventions in rural and urban slum communities at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh as a means to combat diarrhea and respiratory illnesses, the two leading causes of illness and death among children in Bangladesh and in many other low-income settings.

"Hand-washing has been shown to be an effective, affordable and acceptable method to reduce illness from infectious causes of diarrhea and respiratory diseases," she said. "I also am working with a Street-Dwellers Healthcare project in urban Dhada. I am most interested in learning more about the health profiles and needs of women and children in this incredibly vulnerable and marginalized group."

Cumberland, of Gasport, N.Y., is working as an English teaching assistant in the Kaohsiung public elementary schools and studying Mandarin in Taiwan. A 2009 graduate of UB with a degree in linguistics, she is working with low-income students in grades 3-6, teaching English and American culture alongside a Taiwanese co-teacher.

"I believe that great teachers are also eager learners," she said. "This experience is an incredible opportunity to engage the Taiwanese culture, as well as to hone my English-teaching skills. My chosen career is English teaching, so this year of experience will be invaluable."

Dunning, of Poughquag, N.Y., is working as an English teaching assistant at École Normale Supèrieure, the Teacher's College of the newly established University of Maroua in Cameroon. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and French, with a minor in Spanish, and a master's degree in library science, all from UB.

The UB students were selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

"Being a Fulbright grantee involves more than just researching or teaching," explains Dunning. "It's about promoting exchange and not simply talking about improving the world, but actually doing it."

For students thinking about research, shaping international relations and cultivating change or cultural exchange, a Fulbright grant allows them the opportunity to accomplish their goals.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the nation's flagship international education exchange program. In the past 63 years, the program has given opportunities to nearly 300,000 people to study, teach and research across the globe, and experience varying political, economic, educational and cultural institutions. The Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For more information about the program or the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, visit their Web site at

More information about UB's participation in the Fulbright program is available at

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.